City of Dubuque Monitoring River Level and Floodwall
According to a press release from the city of Dubuque, they are closely monitoring the Mississippi River level and the John C. Culver Floodwall as the river is expected to crest at 24’9” on Sunday. This latest projection from the National Weather Service would be the third highest in recorded history behind 1965 and 2001.
The floodwall/levee protecting most of the city is operating as designed and City staff are now monitoring it around the clock for any signs of issues. Public Works staff have also closed 13 of the 17 floodgates along the river and are operating four permanent pumping stations and three temporary pumps 24/7 to convey water over the floodwall and into the river. The remaining gates will be closed before the end of the week, based on current information. This will be just the third time all the flood gates have been closed since the flood control system was completed in 1973.
Water department staff and Water and Resource Recovery Center staff are monitoring pumps, lift stations, and other infrastructure located along the river and are sandbagging some facilities/infrastructure as a precaution. Leisure Services staff are preparing parks and recreation areas for flooding as well.
The City’s engineering staff are in communication with property owners on Schmitt Island on the river side of the floodwall to advise them of flood projections and potential impacts to those properties and to assist them with preparations. City-owned facilities including the Q Casino, and Dubuque Ice Center will not be impacted. Access to these facilities will be maintained. Staff are also considering creating a temporary roadway on top of an existing roadway on the island to maintain access to properties on the south side of the highway if necessary. Additional information will be provided as the river continues to rise and projections are monitored.
The public is reminded to be cautious around the river and floodwall and to avoid flooded areas and follow all traffic detours. City staff also ask that the public avoid areas where they are working on flood control so they can complete this critical work as quickly and safely as possible.
The floodwall is routinely inspected by both City staff and by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to ensure it operates as designed. Based on a rigorous analysis, the system was certified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as being able to withstand the forces of the Mississippi to a river stage above 30’. City staff are continuously monitoring the floodwall and there are no indications that there are any issues with the floodwall system. It is operating as expected. However, all downtown Dubuque residents, businesses, and property owners are urged to remain alert during this record flood level of the Mississippi River in case there is a floodwall breach or failure. Floodwalls/levees reduce the risk of flooding, but no levee system can eliminate all flood risk. Such an occurrence is not likely but all who live, work, or own property in areas protected by the floodwall should have an evacuation plan (www.ready.gov/plan) in case the floodwall fails or is breached. All residents are encouraged to register for emergency notifications through Alert Iowa (www.cityofdubuque.org/alertiowa).